Supreme Court of India ends dispute over status of priests, nuns

(UCAN) The Supreme Court of India has ruled that Catholic priests and religious are not in a “professional engagement” for profit but a way of life, ending a long-drawn legal dispute over their status in the country.

The Sept. 15 verdict of country’s top court ended a clash that began in 2004 when a Catholic priest and two nuns were not allowed to enroll in the Kerala unit of the Bar Council of India. The priest and nuns said that a religious vocation cannot be equated to a profession while the Bar Council of India said its rules do not permit people in other professions to practice law.

The Kerala High Court in 2006 ruled in favor of the priest and nuns.

The Bar Council of India appealed to the Supreme Court of India and cited rules that those gainfully engaged in any trade, business or profession cannot be enrolled as lawyers. It said priests and nuns cannot become lawyers as they are already “professed” members of another profession and get paid by the church. [More]